Casumo hit with fine
The latest gambling operator to be hit with a significant fine in the Netherlands is Casumo. Many other operators have fallen foul of the regulators and been fined six-figure sums.
The Dutch regulator, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), fined Casumo Services Limited for offering games of chance online to residents of the Netherlands before the government has fully approved the new gambling law.
Casumo holds a Maltese gambling license and will have to pay the fine of €310,000 (£264,500, $348,500). The KSA has handed out this type of penalty more frequently in recent years, as online gambling has not been legal in the Netherlands. Despite this, operators see the country as a lucrative market.
Casumo offers hundreds of different casino games on its online platform. The Dutch language is available on Casumo’s live chat option. The operator also allowed Dutch players to make financial transactions through iDeal. This is the most popular online payment service in the Netherlands.
Legalizing online gambling in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is finally making online gambling legal after many years of stalling. The Remote Gambling Bill was first introduced in 2016, but it only got final approval in February 2019.
There will be a 31% tax on both retail and online gambling revenues. Some of this revenue will support the KSA’s work, as well as helping fund gambling addiction programs.
There has also been talk of giving more wide-ranging powers to the KSA, such as blocking Dutch IP addresses from accessing unlicensed offshore online gambling platforms. The authorities still have to draw up the regulatory framework for the sector.
Operators will be able to apply for a license from 2020, so it is unlikely that the first legal online gambling platforms will open before 2021.
Crackdown in the Netherlands
The KSA is ramping up action against illegal online operators. It has increased the extent of the fines – for example, the lowest possible fine has risen to €200,000 ($227,000) from €150,000 ($170,000). The new fines came into effect on March 1.
Fines will escalate if the operator refuses to cooperate or is intentionally targeting underage people or problem gamblers. Companies that cooperate with the KSA could see a reduction in their fine.
Talking about these increases, the KSA chairman said: “The fines we used were not terrifying enough.”
During 2018 the KSA imposed 23 separate sanctions, totaling fines of more than €1,734,700 ($1.95m). This is in comparison with fines of €978,604 ($1.1m) in 2017 and just €403,000 ($453,000) in 2016.
The KSA is also cracking down on video game loot boxes.
Casumo’s other troubles
Casumo was also recently fined £5.85m by the UK Gambling Commission, following a long-running investigation that began in January 2018.
The fine was failing to adequately implement and adhere to safeguards that would stop problem gamblers from harming themselves. The operator was making insufficient checks on customers and or properly monitoring their betting, according to the UKGC.
The UKGC identified three examples of user accounts displaying signs of potential problem gambling, but Casumo did nothing about them.
Casumo has stated it is committed to improving in this department.
The UKGC handed out similar fines to other operators around the same time, including Paddy Power Betfair, Videoslots and Daub Alderney. These fines totaled nearly £14m.
Talking about these fines, the UKGC’s chief executive Neil McArthur said: “I hope today’s announcement will make all online casino operators sit up and pay attention, as our investigations found that a large number of operators and their senior management were not meeting their obligations.”